Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the overwhelming favorite in South Carolina, according to a new poll out of the state.
A survey released by Change Research and The Post and Courier on Wednesday shows Biden leading in South Carolina by double digits. Conducted between August 9 through August 12 by surveying 521 likely primary voters, the poll is one of the first out of the Palmetto State since the second Democrat presidential debate.
When stacked up against candidates in the field of 2020 Democrats, Biden takes first place with 36 percent support — an advantage of 19 points over his nearest challenger. Coming in second place was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 17 percent, although she narrowly beat out Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who landed in third place with 16 percent support, for the spot.
Trailing Sanders and Warren was Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in fourth place with 12 percent. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounded out fifth place with five percent, followed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) with four percent, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) at two percent.
Biden, who is distinguishing himself as the Southern candidate within the primary, still led the field when the results were broken down by age, albeit a disparity was noticeable.
Older voters preferred the former vice president by large margins, including 39 percentage points, with those aged 65. Meanwhile, Biden lagged with 18-to-34-years-old, and substantially. Voters in that age group prefer the progressive, and at times radical vision, offered by candidates further to the left of Biden. Among the group, Sanders leads with 30 percent, followed closely by Warren with 26 percent. Biden, however, does come in third, but far behind his more liberal competitors.
Biden’s largest base of support, and the likely reason forhis commanding advantage overall, comes from within the state’s black community. In South Carolina, as across the entire South, black voters are a substantial portion of the Democrat electorate. A recent survey from Monmouth Poll estimated that more than six-in-ten of South Carolina’s likely Democrat primary voters will be black in 2020.
Among such voters, Biden dominates the field, taking 45 percent outright. Far behind and tied for second place were Sanders and Harris at 15 percent each. In comparison, white voters chose Warren as their preferred nominee with 26 percent support, with Biden as the runner-up at 24 percent.
The poll had margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points. It mirrors a similar a survey conducted by Change Research two months ago showing Biden leading the field with 37 percent overall among likely primary voters.
The findings are good news for Biden’s campaign, especially as he struggles to allay doubts about the candidate’s capabilities after a series of high-profile gaffes. The results also indicate Biden has maintained his support among black voters, despite the fact his campaign has been accused of neglecting those supporters in South Carolina.
It is unclear, though, if such a victory would be enough for him to secure the nomination if he lost both Iowa and New Hampshire. Not since 1992 has the Democrat that lost the Iowa Caucus gone on to win the nomination.